Black Bean Brownies

January 6, 2012

Three months ago I took a trip to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in downtown Des Moines over our lunch hour. The day was beautiful and I was impressed with the selection of tasty lunch items the small farmer’s market had to offer. But what really drew me in was a small whole foods stand selling, among other things, black bean brownies. As you can probably imagine, I couldn’t resist trying a sample and hearing about what this black bean brownie thing was all about.

Turns out, the nutrition stats on the brownie were really impressive and I couldn’t even tell there were black beans in the brownie. It was just incredibly moist and gooey. Totally my kind of brownie.

Although it took me a while to get in my kitchen and replicate the black bean brownie in my own kitchen, I can report back to you that they are as easy and tasty as ever. Made with whole wheat flour, just a bit of sugar and black beans for protein, these are brownies that you can feel good about eating! In fact, each brownie contains just around 120 calories and 3 grams of protein. If you want to make them even healthier, I think you could probably cut back on the sugar even more, and perhaps sub some apple sauce for some of the oil.

Oh, and as a trial, when Joey got home I offered him a brownie and asked what he thought. He couldn’t even tell there was anything healthy about these brownies. When I asked him what he thought the secret ingredient was, he said whole wheat flour. And although that’s true, it wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for. He couldn’t even tell there were black beans involved. I would call that a success!

Black Bean Brownies
Adapted from

*3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (canned is fine)
*1/2 cup light flavored olive oil or canola oil
*2 eggs or 1/2 cup Egg Beaters liquid egg replacement
*1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 cup granulated sugar (could probably reduce to 1/3 cup if desired)
*1 tsp. instant coffee granules
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
*1/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*Additional chocolate chips (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the black beans, olive oil, eggs, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend until well combined and mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add in the coffee, vanilla, melted chocolate, flour, baking powder and salt. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
*Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread to distribute evenly. Top with additional chocolate chips, if desired. Bake in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes 16 brownies

Happy Baking!


  • Reply Lindsey Knudson January 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I have never been sold on black bean brownies but I think you sold me! I am going to try these for my next “treat” day at work 🙂 Thanks!

  • Reply Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray January 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to try these!!

  • Reply Martha January 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    wow, how very intriguing! I’m sure I couldn’t have resisted trying them either! I think I might have to try these.Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Micah Chaplin January 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Hmm. Interesting. I might need to try this.

  • Reply Lauren at Keep It Sweet January 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I love black bean brownies and had black bean cake that was amazing. Yours look too good to be healthy!

  • Reply Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables January 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I’ve had black bean gluten free brownies and I agree, you can’t taste the beans at all!

  • Reply Bridget Miller January 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    cant wait to try these 🙂

  • Reply Heidi @ Food Doodles January 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    These look great! I made black bean brownies once and didn’t like them at all, but the texture of yours looks completely different. I think I need to give them another try 🙂

  • Reply Urban Wife January 7, 2012 at 12:43 am

    These look fudgy and delish! I remember my Mom made some a few years ago when the hubs and I first started dating – turns out he was none the wiser. Of course, after she told him it had black beans he swore they indeed tasted different. She also tried making Black Bean Ice Cream one time too. That didn’t go over so well. 🙂

  • Reply beckiswholelife January 7, 2012 at 1:22 am

    These look nice and moist….even more reason to lose those black beans!

  • Reply Emily @LivingLongfellow January 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Thats so cool! I want to try one before making a whole batch.

  • Reply Lauren George January 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I keep reading about black beans in brownies but haven’t tried it yet. This recipe looks simple enought that I might be brave enough to give it a try! I’m super excited! 🙂

  • Reply Charlotte January 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I think it’s kind of funny how people react to beans in sweet treats. First of all, many asian countries use beans and bean paste as a base for many of their sweets, and have for many years. Secondly, a bean is a seed of a plant, exactly like a grain of wheat, neutral tasting and flexible (ie: can be used whole, mushed, or ground).

  • Reply Julie-Anne Noël January 11, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I made these last night, and my, are they tasty (even having cut down the sugar to 1/3 cup)! Also very easy to make, as I had to mix everything with a hand mixer.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Awesome to hear! I think next time we make them in our house, we will cut down on the sugar, too.

  • Reply Kim January 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    i have been wanting to try black bean brownies for two years now, i just need to do it! yum.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Do! They won’t disappoint, I promise! 🙂

  • Reply Brittaney January 12, 2012 at 3:37 am

    These look DELICIOUS. What a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry January 12, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Let me know if you do! P.S. – you have to be the cutest pregnant lady ever!

  • Reply Honeywhatscooking January 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This looks delicious. I’m always in search of a healthy recipe. and I hope this recipe doesn’t make me miss the fat. bookmarking.

  • Reply Amanda @ Semi-Health Nut January 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I’m thinking about making these for the BF and seeing if he notices they are made with beans!!!
    This made my Friday Finds this week:

  • Reply Sharyl January 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Cooking the black beans now for these brownies for the family for watching the Packers later. Can’t wait to try these. I’ve wanted to try black bean brownies for along time, but have been afraid too. After seeing multiple recipes, I’m going for it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Sharyl January 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Verdict is in, no one even believed they were black bean brownies. When I told them, after they scarfed them down, they doubted. Moist and creamy!!!!! Posting on my blog this week.

      • Reply MadisonMayberry January 23, 2012 at 12:32 am

        Sharyl – that’s so great to hear! 🙂 I love that no one knew what the secret ingredient was!

  • Reply Anonymous January 23, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Do you have a nutritional content for these??

  • Reply guest January 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I’m wondering if I could use coconut oil instead of olive or canola?? I’m trying to use coconut oil in my cooking more, and I really really want to make these brownies!!

  • Reply Parker March 24, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Thank You so much for this recipe Madison! I try to eat mostly organic and really watch what I eat, but also I am serious about my chocolate. It is hard to find chocolate dessert recipes that don’t compromise on the taste and still can be semi-healthy! (read: I am picky when it comes to chocolate taste.) These were great! I used the Olive Oil vs Canola and substituted 1/2 c Egg Whites for Whole Eggs or Egg Beaters, as well as reducing the Sugar to 1/3 c. They were perfect! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry March 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Parker – First, I love your name! Second, I’m so happy to hear that they turned out as well for you as they did for us. I loved knowing that I was getting some protein in with my chocolate fix. 🙂

  • Reply Kate August 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I just pulled this brownies out of the oven. They look and smell so good!

  • Reply Kate August 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Oops *these 🙂

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